The University of Arizona

Petrology of the Yamato nakhlites

N. Imae, Y. Ikeda, H. Kojima


The Yamato nakhlites, Y-000593, Y-000749, and Y-000802, were recovered in 2000 from the bare icefield around the Yamato mountains in Antarctica, consisting of three independent specimens with black fusion crusts. They are paired cumulate clinopyroxenites. We obtained the intercumulus melt composition of the Yamato nakhlites and here call it the Yamato intercumulus melt (YIM). The YIM crystallized to form the augite rims, the olivine rims and the mesostasis phases in the cumulates. The augite rims consist of two layers: inner and outer. The crystallization of the inner rim drove the interstitial melt into the plagioclase liquidus field. Subsequently, the residual melt crystallized pigeonites and plagioclase to form the outer rims and the mesostasis.Three types of inclusions were identified in olivine phenocrysts: rounded vitrophyric, angular vitrophyric, and monomineralic augite inclusions. The monomineralic augite inclusions are common and may have been captured by growing olivine phenocrysts. The rounded vitrophyric inclusions are rare and may represent the composition of middle-stage melts, whereas the angular vitrophyric inclusions seem to have been derived from fractionated late-stage melts. Glass inclusions occur in close association with titanomagnetite and ferroan augite halo in phenocryst core augites and the assemblages may be magmatic inclusions in augites. We compared the YIM with compositions of magmatic inclusions in olivine and augite. The composition of magmatic inclusions in augite is similar to the YIM.Phenocrystic olivines contain exsolution lamellae, augite-magnetite aggregates, and symplectites in the cores. The symplectites often occur at the boundaries between olivine and augite grains. The aggregates, symplectite and lamellae formed by exsolution from the host olivine at magmatic temperatures.We present a formational scenario for nakhlites as follows: (1) accumulation of augite, olivine, and titanomagnetite phenocrysts took place on the floor of a magma chamber; (2) olivine exsolved augite and magnetite as augite-magnetite aggregates, symplectites and lamellae; (3) the overgrowth on olivine phenocrysts formed their rims, and the inner rims crystallized on augite phenocryst cores; and finally, (4) the outer rim formed surrounding the inner rims of augite phenocrysts, and plagioclase and minor minerals crystallized to form mesostasis under a rapid cooling condition, probably in a lava flow or a sill.



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